Samantha Stokes is celebrating her first Mother’s Day today with her miracle twins Lana and Lara. While she was fighting breast cancer, her two girls were waiting for her – in a freezer. In a race against time, before she started her grueling chemotherapy, doctors managed to freeze embryos to help her achieve her dream of being a mum.
For nearly three years, as Samantha fought the disease, they remained in cold storage.
But once she finished her treatment, one embryo was thawed out and placed into her womb. It was then she had the most
A scan showed that the embryo had split into two, creating identical twins.
Samantha, who has fought cancer twice, gave birth to Lana and Lara in August last year.
The 35-year-old university lecturer, who lives with computer programmer husband Garrick, 47, in Southampton, said: “When
the sonographer carried out the scan and told us she could see two heartbeats, we couldn’t believe it.
“To have gone through cancer and then to have my miracle daughters is the most amazing feeling.”
Samantha was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was 28 and had recently completed a degree.
She said: “I was tired, but I was travelling a lot and had just finished my masters, so I thought I was just run down.
“I went to the doctors and they carried out blood tests. It was a shock when they told me that it was cancer.”
She underwent surgery to remove her thyroid, and thought that she had put her battle behind her. But four years later she discovered a lump in her breast.
Samantha said: “After they did a scan and a biopsy they told me it was breast cancer.”
The couple wanted a family, but the chemotherapy could potentially leave her infertile, so there was a brief window where doctors suggested she could freeze embryos.
Samantha said: “Luckily we had a couple of weeks which matched in with my cycle and doctors were able to extract my eggs, fertilise them, and put them in the freezer.”
Samantha had a year of chemotherapy, which finished in August 2020 and she underwent a course of IVF treatment in January last year.
It worked first time.
She said: “I couldn’t believe it when they told me I was pregnant with identical twins.”
But the worry was not over as after a scan at 33 weeks, doctors suspected twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.
The rare and life-threatening condition occurs where there is an imbalance in the blood exchange between the babies. Medics decided to deliver the girls that afternoon.
Samantha said: “To meet them was the most incredible moment. These little girls had waited for me in the freezer while I fought cancer, and now we are a family.”